Uber, the ride-sharing firm, is teaming up with Volvo to hail self-driving cars within a fortnight. The launch would take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At first, the vehicles will be supervised by a driver who can take control if necessary, and an observer. Customers in Pittsburgh will request cars the normal way, via Uber’s app, and will be paired with a driverless car at random. Trips will be free for the time being, rather than the standard local rate.
Volvo had already sent a small number of sensor-equipped XC90 sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to Uber, which would be used in the initial trials. The carmaker intends to have delivered 100 such cars to its partner by the end of the year.
Engineers from both companies would collaborate on the project. “This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry,” said Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo.
The Bloomberg story notes that the Volvo deal will not be an exclusive one and that Uber plans to work with other carmakers.
The firm first revealed plans to replace human drivers two years ago.